The Symphonic Royalties division of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund collects and distributes royalties to performers on symphonic sound recordings. These payments are a unique form of royalties collected pursuant to the:

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US – digital subscription services, webcasting and other digital services
  • The U.S. Audio Home Recording Act – Private Copy royalties
  • Agreements negotiated with foreign collectives

The monies collected represent royalty payments due for the broadcast of symphonic recordings in the United States and abroad; for sound recordings, archival recordings and radio broadcasts licensed for use on cable, satellite and digital media.

In general, the copyright holder (the recording company) receives 50% of the total royalties; featured performers receive 45%; and non-featured instrumental and vocal performers (i.e. background vocalists and session musicians) receive 5% of the royalties on a sound recording.

In the U.S., Orchestra members are considered featured performers, therefore they receive their payments from the 45% featured artist pool of the total royalties collected pursuant to U.S. statutes.

These 45% featured royalties are split among the orchestra, conductor and soloists, as applicable.